Submitted Date 06/17/2021

The title on the email was intriguing - "Great Resignation" - and as the body text was read, a need to contribute was noted. Local major, metropolitan school districts have this year seen the largest loss of staff, both professional and paraprofessional, in recent memory. There are several factors that have contributed to this, some COVID-related, others glancingly so, and still others related to significant changes in educational policy. A look around at other industries confirms similar shake-ups occurring all around. Consider some of the major contributing factors.

A. Many of those making a move have been considering doing so for some time and the present circumstances have moved them off the dime. In many cases, they are resigning their current position before knowing they have something new lined up.

B. The good news for those in the above scenario is that changes are happening all over. Where there may not have been openings previously, new opportunities are opening up, as folks in those companies, school districts, and entities move on, also.

C. Some folks are intimidated by the idea of going back to a face-to-face environment and are using a faux-fear of COVID as their justification. Others have been genuinely shaken up about this whole pandemic procedural that their anxiety will not let them leave the virtual work-world with which they have become comfortable.

D. Unfortunately, there is also a class of people who have figured out how to game the system. Utilizing various forms of stimulus and unemployment gambits, they have figured out how to soak the system for all it's worth. They actually feel it is owed to them and have no compunction about what they are doing.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Throughout this author's career, he has become rather adept at job change. Part of that is the industries worked in (ministry, sales, and air conditioning, for example). Regardless of one's reason for moving, here are a few key considerations to use when changing jobs.

1. Read the signs - Learn to anticipate when it is time to move on, in order to make the move of one's own volition, rather than being laid off or terminated.

2. Get feelers out there early - Once it becomes clear alternate plans need to be made, one should activate their network (carefully, lest it gets back to your current employer) that a move is anticipated. LinkedIn and other work-related sites are possible venues for this, although current employer connections may preclude such.

3. Secure the destination before resigning - This is not always possible but when it is, it is the best strategy. If at all possible, ask for time to give two weeks' notice at the employment being left. That will give the new employer confidence their new hire will not leave them in a lurch when their day of departure from the new employer arrives.

4. Speaking of which, wherever possible, give two weeks' notice - Not all employers expect this but most will at least respect it. Even if one plans to never return to that company, one should try to leave with an "Eligible for Rehire" status.

5. If possible, have some savings to cushion between paychecks - The pay cycle of one's new employer may differ from the former place. Try to have at least one month's expenses available to carry forward until the pay starts flowing smoothly at the new place.

Sometimes a fresh start in a new career is just what is needed to bring a spark of excitement back into one's work life. Learning a new job, absorbing new concepts, perhaps even starting anew in a completely different industry - all these can be daunting, yet exciting, challenges. The author did so six years ago when starting a career in education at the age of 56. It's never too late; good luck!

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